Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.
Strategic Account Executive
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR COMPANY.
As a Strategic Account Executive, I’m on a team of sales leaders within my organization. I’ve spent over 20 years in the tech industry in numerous sales roles, where I led complex cross-functional teams across all areas of discipline, including customer success, professional services, finance, and executive management. Previously, I was Enterprise Sales Manager at DataStax, Inc., where I spent my career developing sales territories and strategic accounts to outperform revenue goals while maintaining revenue linearity for 12 quarters in a row. I was responsible for ensuring all team strategy, alignment, and execution met daily and weekly objectives.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
One of my favorite quotes from Jack Welch is, “Get Every Brain in the Game.” When you think about that for a minute, it opens your mind. It changes your perspective, allowing you to think about the inclusion of a diverse team – a team that may hold different life experiences that you never knew existed and which could provide a different perspective and opens doors you never imagined that could open.
The JWMI curriculum concentrates on leadership across all disciplines, and the curriculum is designed to make you a better data-driven, results-oriented leader. During my tenure at JWMI, I received two salary increases. I expanded my career by moving into a role that would allow me to continue to develop my sales awareness.
JWMI helped me to evolve my leadership capabilities and enabled me to assist others in developing their leadership abilities. JWMI provides a variety of learning tools to use in your current role like Porter’s Five Forces, economic moats, network effects, and operationally, the value of time and money. Most importantly, this program helps you understand the reason we need to focus efforts on growing a team to achieve wins.
With such an immediate return on investment, I am confident my JWMI MBA will create even more long-lasting opportunities that will help me reach my future career goals. I look towards the future with hope, expectation, joy and confidence.
WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?
Answering this question brings me to my family. I lost my mother over 25 years ago, and we agreed this is something I would do in my lifetime. Along came my family, my wife and two children, a new home, and uncertainty everywhere. As an Enneagram 8, I’m known for being a calculated value risk-taker. That makes my wife nervous, but with faith, it usually ends well. I always tell those I work with that there is nothing we say or do that we can’t repair with a little effort and explanation. This approach gives the teams I lead the opportunity to express themselves without worrying about judgment, and in the end, leads to mutual respect and mentoring relationship.
Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time writing down my goals. I developed a life plan with different accounts for each area that mattered. In 2013, I took a course on goal setting and developed the plan with the goal to complete my MBA in 2018. I started my Jack Welch MBA journey in April 2018 and finished in September 2019. Electing to take the 18-month track to finish my MBA meant I would take two graduate-level classes each quarter over six quarters. It was challenging but worth the effort, and was the most rewarding part of my career.
DID YOU FIND THE CURRICULUM WAS IMMEDIATELY APPLICABLE?
Starting with Leadership in the 21st Century and Communications & Executive Presence courses, I found myself learning and applying everything I studied each week. It is “learn it Monday, and apply on Tuesday.” For me, with two courses, it was “learn it Monday and Tuesday and apply on Tuesday and Wednesday” and beyond. In our Leadership course, it became evident to me how results are directly linked to trust. Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, as depicted, illustrates how trust is the foundation of results.
JWMI made me more aware of areas of opportunities within my company and provided me the tools to apply techniques to make changes and improvements.
For example, during my Strategy course, my leadership team was also working through a strategic plan at the same time. Using Jack’s “Five Slide” formula, I was able to understand where the competition had already been and where they were weakest by laying out the organizational structure and understanding financials and how to outpace the competition. This approach was clear and concise. It helped me to see where the opportunity existed or was missed at my company as well as where it would be in the future.
LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW? DID IT MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, VIA DQ BOARDS, EOP VIDEOS, JACK CALLS, FACULTY ETC.?
When I started my MBA journey at JWMI, I had done a fair amount of research on the program and spoke with members of the admissions team for about six months to a year. I knew it was different, but I didn’t understand fully until one of the professors shared that the program was a “doing” MBA, more than a “research” MBA. That resonated with me and drove me throughout my tenure in the program.
The program is highly organized. But the professors help to bring the curriculum to life. You are taught by professors who are not just tenured teachers, but who have real-world experience and who are executives who had mastered their area of expertise. They are world-class leaders and the top names in their professions. What sets them apart is their attention to student success and understanding. Each professor possesses high degrees of Emotional Intelligence that allows them to put the student first, not their own ego. JWMI surveys students to ensure professors are working towards a satisfying student experience, which I thought was unique in an academic setting. The faculty made all the difference in the world towards an incredible experience.
JWMI recently was Ranked #1 by Poets & Quants in Overall Quality of Professors, in Program Flexibility, and in Applying What You Learn to Your Job. As a graduate, it is easy to see why. The curriculum, discussion questions (DQ’s), Experts of Practice (EOP) videos, Jack Welch and Warren Buffett interviews, executive interviews, Jack Welch’s webinars & calls, the faculty, and Suzy Welch’s curation of material with Jack and team, are like nothing else out there and cannot be replicated.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?
Ultimately it’s the transformation into the leader I am today. I’m grateful and honored to have earned a Welch Scholar designation in my MBA program, but it’s my personal transformation that was more rewarding than anything.
Jack and Suzy Welch’s pioneering vision and the faculty helped bring JWMI to individuals seeking to learn how to grow into executive leadership responsibilities. Since finishing, I told my son that I missed writing assignments and discussion question responses. And it’s the truth because they helped me to extensively learn how to apply the materials in a personal and individual way.
JWMI is unique as it adds an element of the unexpected from Jack Welch, who has a reputation as one of the top CEOs of all time.
With that JWMI provided such a unique and immersive experience, the material became a way of lifestyle, not a path to a degree. I look forward to continuing that lifestyle in all future endeavors.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.
My advice to new students would be to believe in yourself. Create a plan and execute it. Don’t procrastinate, and take the opportunity to learn the materials thoroughly as you will use them every day during and after your journey at JWMI.
Also, get involved in the Student and Alumni Advisory Board. (SAAB). This group will help you with the ins and outs of anything you can’t get from your professors and your classmates. As a SAAB Ambassador, we held a national night of networking in multiple cities last night, on Thursday, January 23, 2020. I hosted the one where I live in Nashville, TN.
Finally, for students who have not yet made the decision to join the JWMI community, I encourage you to trust the credentials:
Poets & Quants, a leading business school publication, just named the Jack Welch Management Institute as one of the Top 25 Online MBA Programs of 2020!
The program was also ranked:
- Top 10 Online MBA Program based on Student Satisfaction
- Top 10 MBA Program for Career Outcomes
- #1 in all three faculty categories: Quality, Accessibility, and Connections with Professors
- #1 in Program Flexibility
- #1 in Satisfaction with Ability to Immediately Apply What You Learn to Your Job
- #2 in Career Advising Effectiveness
Finally, JWMI was among the Top 25 Online MBA Programs by the Princeton Review for four consecutive years.
Connect with Bob Williams on Linkedin
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